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Thompson Rivers University
Thompson Rivers University

HUMN 3981: Issues in Latin American Studies

This course explores the social aspects of the economic, political, and cultural issues facing Latin American countries. After an introduction to the basic issues for understanding Latin America as a region, students examine and research such issues as the distribution of wealth and economic globalization, democracy and social movements, and various aspects of Latin American culture. This course is suitable for students completing degrees in a number of discipline areas, including science, engineering, humanities, fine arts, social science, business,education, and general studies.

Learning outcomes

The main goal of HUMN 3981 is to expand your awareness and your capacity to understand and think analytically and critically about the social aspects of economic, political, and cultural issues in Latin American countries and to further develop your skills in researching and communicating your ideas in online discussion and written essays.

After successfully completing this course, students will be able to:

  • Identify, think critically about, and discuss social aspects of major economic, political, and cultural issues of contemporary Latin American countries.
  • Identify, think critically about, and discuss the major geographical, historical, and social influences contributing to contemporary Latin America.
  • Participate effectively in online discussions about social aspects of the economic, political, and cultural issues facing Latin American countries, communicating with learners from a variety of academic and professional backgrounds.
  • Find and evaluate information relevant to Latin American studies using online resources, including the TRU Library and the Internet.

Course topics

HUMN 3981, Issues in Latin American Studies includes the following modules and sections:

  • Module 1: Latin American Issues-Origins and Destinations
    • Section 1: Defining "Latin America"
    • Section 2: Historical Perspective
    • Section 3: Latin America: The Open Veins
  • Module 2: Economy and Society
    • Section 1: Distribution of Wealth
    • Section 2: Globalization and Regional Integration
    • Section 3: The Consequences of Development
  • Module 3: Political Issues in Latin America
    • Section 1: State, Democracy, and Authoritarianism
    • Section 2: Social Movements
    • Section 3: Latin American Politics--Present and Future
  • Module 4: Culture and Society
    • Section 1: Culture and Identity
    • Section 2: Art and Literature
    • Section 3: Culture and Globalization

Required text and materials

Green, Duncan, and Sue Branford. Faces of Latin America. 4th ed. Monthly Review Press, 2013.
Type: Textbook: ISBN-13: 978-1-58367-324-9

Additional requirements

You will need access to a TV and DVD player, or a computer with a DVD drive. A number of films are referred to in the course materials. The required films and some of those recommended are available for free via TRU Library at or your local library. If you prefer to rent or purchase the films, try your local video rental store or online video distributors such as iTunes or NetFlix.

Required Films

Evita. Dir. Alan Parker. Perf. Madonna, Antonio Banderas, Jonathan Pryce. Disney, 1996. DVD.

Frida. Dir. Julie Taymor. Perf. Salma Hayek, Alfred Molina. Miramax, 2002. DVD.


To successfully complete this course, you must achieve a passing grade of 50% or higher on the overall course and 50% or higher on the mandatory Final Project. The following table illustrates how your final grade will be determined for this course.

Assignment 1: Latin American Issues - Origins and Destinations 17.5%
Assignment 2: Economy and Society 17.5%
Assignment 3: Political Issues in Latin America 17.5%
Assignment 4: Culture and Society 17.5%
Final Project* 30%
Total 100%

* Mandatory

Open Learning Faculty Member Information

An Open Learning Faculty Member is available to assist students. Students will receive the necessary contact information at the start of the course.

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